Friday, April 11, 2014

What exactly is a good (or great) teacher? (Part 5: Closing thoughts)

A good teacher is hard to define. It is even more difficult to develop formal evaluation protocols. Over the past few posts, I discussed evaluating teachers based on their ability to inspire. I've discussed evaluation based on students' test scores (a very prevalent idea today). Student evaluation of teachers has been touched on, as has teachers' own test scores and academic performance.

We've also seen how all of these fail to truly and fully evaluate a teacher.

What else could be looked at? How about peer evaluation? How about changed lives of the students? How about a continuum based on the number of students who fall asleep in class? There are strengths and weaknesses of every conceivable method, though some methods would be stronger than others.

What qualities do we look for in good teachers? The following is a list of some qualities I would want for my own children and for my students:
  • a sense of duty to the students
  • the willingness to let students explore
  • the readiness and ability to reflect upon their own practice
  • the courage to make mistakes
  • the humility to say "I was wrong"
  • competence in their field
  • a love for reading
  • the willingness to be unpopular (with students or peers) it improves justice
  • a desire to refine their craft through study, research, and acquiring feedback
  • a love for learning
  • a belief that passion for learning is more valuable than orderliness
  • the hope that students will achieve
What would you add to this list? What would you take away?

Other posts in the series:
Part 1: Inspiration?
Part 2: Test scores?
Part 3: Student evaluations?
Part 4: Grades and scores?

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